Monday, May 12, 2014

Outcast Odyssey

I recently created some artwork for Outcast Odyssey and was immediately given permission to show the work. It was a pretty challenging assignment in a couple ways. It was work done for a subcontractor of a subcontractor so with that kind of situation there's always the danger of having a dozen changes from each company and the increased chance of either subcontracted company failed to get paid or failing to pay their subcontractors(which I experienced at Empty Room Studios with Kunoichi Kreative on the Spoils and with another company that I won't name). Luckily this one went smoothly and payment and revisions were not an issue. There's one more problem with this sort of job. Every time the work moves further down the contracting line, the more the rates get watered down. So there was a pretty small budget for this and print sales wouldn't be allowed so I had to try to really budget my own time well.
Outcast Odyssey images copyright Magic Pixel and Bandai Namco.

The first card is Alyssa's Burden. I didn't budget my time well on the primary artwork and spent too much time fooling around with the background which will mostly be cropped entirely out when it comes out in the card game so that put me in a bit of a rush for the upgrade states. The upgrade states/color for this one were pretty much dictated by the client. Despite my being a digital artist, I approach my artwork pretty traditionally so I'm not that use to making global color and value adjustments and keeping everything on separate layers. The client wanted to keep things pretty chopped up for simple parallax animations. When a client tells me something like that, I try to make sure that all special effects use a "normal" blending mode rather than an overlay,hardlight or color dodge mode like I would normally use. The reason being that I don't know if the client will be able to or will use the right blending mode so trying to make it work in "normal" mode just seems safer.

This second card went much better. I budgeted my time much better for Divining Rod and between cards I learned some new methods for making global color and value adjustments. On Alyssa's Burden I mostly used hue/saturation and color balance adjustment layers and color blending mode layers to adjust things. By Divining Rod I had learned about using curves and the grabber to adjust colors which really sped things up.

Lastly I'll show this quarter-page illustration for Monte Cook Games. Absolutely loved working on this one.It's always great when a client gives me a lot of freedom and just wants to see something they haven't seen before. The colors and execution are obviously a continuing evolution of what I was doing on my personal project and represent how I'd like my artwork to head. So basically a lot more variety to the color and more saturation. With something this strange, I like to choose a pose that leaves things clear to the viewer rather than doing an action shot that could confuse the anatomy. That said, my affection for display type poses with strange creatures is probably seriously hurting my ability to drum up more work with illustrations like these. Actually Wizards of the Coast has told me as much. That said the only thing I'd do differently with this one is adjust the angle or pose in some way so that the rear leg on the far side is more visibly. I made a maquette and I think it caused me to not think anything was weird about that far leg being completely hidden but now that it's months later it bugs me.
By the way, The Strange RPG is going to look phenomenal. Go pre-order it if you're into great artwork.

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